Everyone has a right to feel safe. By reporting sexual harassment – whether it’s something you’ve experienced yourself, or seen happen to others – we can work together to make South Yorkshire safer for all of us.
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We think acts of misogyny should be recognised as hate crime – the definition of hate crime is that it is motivated by hostility or prejudice towards a person’s age, disability, race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender identity.
The list does not yet include misogyny, in spite of gender being a protected characteristic in The Equality Act 2010, and everyone knowing that sexual harassment is targeted at women and girls because we are female.
By reporting incidents we can build a picture of the extent of misogyny hate crime in South Yorkshire, and campaign for a national steer to update the categories.
Incidents that happen in Sheffield can be reported via Stop Hate UK – they have a category for hate crime based on gender identity.
Incidents happening anywhere in South Yorkshire can be reported to South Yorkshire Police (whether classed as a ‘crime’ or not) online or by ringing 101 (or 999 in an emergency).
South Yorkshire Police do not currently have a Hate Crime category for misogyny or gender-based incidents, but their hate crime leads do encourage women and girls to make clear to the Police if you consider that you have been targeted because you are female, and consider it to be a hate crime due to prejudice/hostility based on your gender.
Many people do not know or understand what is meant by ‘hate crime’ and so wouldn’t report it as such, but the police can identify it as a hate crime incident, based on what is reported.
Remember – reporting can be anonymous, and there is no requirement to make a statement or pursue a prosecution, but it is important that we capture information that illustrates the whole spectrum of offensive behavior that starts with catcalling and unwanted touching and can end in rape and serious sexual assault.
It’s really important to report sexual harassment of any kind, but we also all need to take action and talk to the men and boys in our lives about the impact their behavior can have on women and girls.
‘#MeToo is here to stay. We must challenge all men about sexual harassment’, says Georgina Lawton of The Guardian. And as Eva Wiseman writes in the Observer Magazine: ‘A year on from Trump’s pussy grab, nothing has changed’.